College of Liberal Arts

Original Play "Underground" Premiers in Austin

Wed, Mar 29, 2017
Rudy Ramirez (director), Jeffery Johnson (actor), Lisa B. Thompson (playwright) and Marc Pouhe┬┤ (actor). Photo credit: Errich Petersen.
Rudy Ramirez (director), Jeffery Johnson (actor), Lisa B. Thompson (playwright) and Marc Pouhe┬┤ (actor). Photo credit: Errich Petersen.

“Underground,” a play written by African and African Diaspora studies associate professor Lisa B. Thompson, considers the ways in which African American activists, artists and intellectuals have responded from the civil rights movement to the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond. 

Read the Austin Chronicle cover story about the play here. 

It introduces a pair of college buddies, Kyle and Mason, who are now professionals approaching middle age, reminiscing about their years as radical youths and engaging each other in a battle of intellects over the best road to black liberation.

It leads the audience through their argument as it becomes increasingly passionate and more personal. And as it plays out, the audience and characters are made aware of news reports, revealing a police search for the leader of a black radical political movement. From flashbacks to their first meeting to the final game of chess that could change their lives forever, Mason and Kyle pose to each other a central question: How far would you go to protect your people?

Thompson’s work addresses questions that have become all the more pressing and have left millions of Americans wondering what fighting for equality — and for survival — will look like.

Directed by Rudy Ramirez and starring Marc Pouhé and Jeffery Da’Shade Johnson, the play was funded in part by the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and runs March 24 through April 5 at the VORTEX in Austin.

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